Title:
Foam- Forming Assembly, Squeeze Foamer And Dispensing Device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a foam-forming assembly for forming a foam, comprising a housing having an air passage and a liquid passage which each end in a mouth and which are in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening, and a valve body. The invention is characterized in that the mouth of the liquid passage is annular and the mouth of the air passage and an entry port of the dispensing passage are substantially provided on the circumference of an imaginary circle, in which between the annular mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage and/or the entry port of the dispensing passage an annular sealing surface is provided, against which, in rest position, the valve body sealingly engages, and in which during dispensing the valve body becomes detached of the sealing surface such that the mouth of the air passage, the mouth of the liquid passage and the entry port of the dispensing passage substantially simultaneously come in fluid communication with each other.



Inventors:
van der Heijden,Edgar Ivo Maria (Broek Op Langedijk, NL)
Application Number:
12/518710
Publication Date:
01/07/2010
Filing Date:
12/10/2007
Assignee:
REXAM AIRSPRAY N.V. (Alkmaar, NL)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/211, 222/212
International Classes:
B05B7/00; B05B11/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAINBRIDGE, ANDREW PHILIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hoffmann & Baron LLP (Syosset, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A foam-forming assembly for forming a foam, comprising a housing having an air passage and a liquid passage, each of which ending in a mouth and being in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening, and a valve body which, in a rest position, covers the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in a sealing manner in order to prevent a flow from the liquid passage and the air passage to the dispensing passage, and which, during dispensing, opens the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in order to allow mixing of air and liquid to take place in the dispensing passage, wherein the mouth of the liquid passage is annular and in that the mouth of the air passage and an entry port of the dispensing passage are substantially provided on the circumference of an imaginary circle, wherein between the annular mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage and/or the entry port of the dispensing passage an annular sealing surface is provided, against which, in rest position, the valve body sealingly engages, and wherein during dispensing the valve body becomes detached from the sealing surface such that the mouth of the air passage, the mouth of the liquid passage and the entry port of the dispensing passage substantially simultaneously come in fluid communication with each other.

2. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the air passage comprises two or more mouths which are provided on the circumference of the imaginary circle.

3. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 2, wherein the two or more mouths are evenly distributed about the circumference of the imaginary circle.

4. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 2, wherein the air passage comprises three mouths, which are provided on the circumference of an imaginary circle, and wherein between each two mouths an entry port of the dispensing passage is provided.

5. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve body is substantially conical.

6. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve body comprises a through-opening which forms a part of the dispensing passage.

7. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve body is elastic.

8. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the foam-forming assembly is substantially circular-symmetrical about a center axis of symmetry and the liquid to be dispensed, during dispensing, moves in a direction relative to the direction of the center axis of symmetry.

9. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve body is made from a silicone material.

10. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the foam-forming assembly comprises a sealing cap, which can be moved between an open position, in which a foam can be dispensed by squeezing the container, and a closed position, in which the dispensing opening is sealed.

11. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the valve body comprises an edge which extends freely on all sides and which serves as a valve for an aeration opening in the housing for aerating the container.

12. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein a constriction is arranged in the dispensing passage.

13. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, wherein the constriction is arranged upstream of a porous element or sieve element in the dispensing passage.

14. The foam-forming assembly according to claim 7, wherein the elastic valve body comprises an arcuate section, which arcuate section extends in the mouth of the liquid passage or the mouth of the air passage in such a way that, initially, when the pressure in the container increases, the arcuate section improves the sealing of the mouth of the liquid passage and air passage, respectively.

15. A foam-forming assembly for forming a foam, comprising a housing having an air passage and a liquid passage, each of which ending in a mouth and being in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening, and a valve body which, in a rest position, covers the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in a sealing manner in order to prevent a flow from the liquid passage and the air passage to the dispensing passage, and which, during dispensing, opens the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in order to allow mixing of air and liquid to take place in the dispensing passage, wherein a constriction is arranged in the dispensing passage, preferably upstream of a porous element or sieve element arranged in the dispensing passage.

16. A squeeze roamer for dispensing a foam, comprising a manually compressible container for storing a liquid and air, and foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, mountable on or in an opening of said container, the air passage and liquid passage being in fluid communication with the container.

17. A dispensing device for dispensing a foam comprising a foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, in which the liquid passage and air passage are connected with a liquid source comprising a liquid under pressure and a gas source comprising a gas under pressure, respectively.

18. A dispensing device for dispensing a foam comprising a foam-forming assembly according to claim 1, in which the liquid passage and the air passage are in fluid communication with a container comprising a foamable liquid and a gas, in particular air, wherein the foamable liquid and gas are pressurized or can be pressurized.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is the National Stage of International Application No. PCT/NL2007/000304, filed Dec. 10, 2007, which claims the benefit of Netherlands Application No. NL 1033031, filed Dec. 11, 2006, the contents of which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a foam-forming assembly and a dispensing device for forming and dispensing a foam. More in particular, the present invention relates to a pumpless squeeze foamer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Pat. No. 5,037,006 discloses a dispensing device for dispensing a foam. This known dispensing device comprises a manually compressible container for storing a liquid and air. The container comprises an opening in which a housing is fitted. In this housing, a liquid passage and an air passage are arranged which, during dispensing, are in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening. The dispensing device furthermore comprises a valve body which, in a rest position, seals a mouth of the liquid passage and a mouth of the air passage. The valve body is a disc-shaped flexible element, which is held at the circumference and is pressed against the mouths of the liquid passage and the air passage by means of a spring.

By compressing/squeezing the container, the pressure in the container is increased and thus the pressure in the liquid passage and the air passage. As a result of this elevated pressure, the valve body on the mouths of the air passage and the liquid passage gives way, and a stream of air from the air passage and a stream of liquid from the liquid passage come together in the dispensing passage. In the dispensing passage, the mixture of liquid and air is passed through a number of sieves in order to create a foam, which is dispensed by the dispensing opening.

After the container has been squeezed, the container will essentially return to its original state, either by the elasticity of the container itself or by restoring means which are provided in order to return the container to its original state.

A drawback of the known dispensing device is the fact that the mixture of air and liquid is not optimum, as a result of which the quality of the foam is not satisfactory. In addition, the structure of the known dispensing device is complex and comprises many components, which makes production complicated. In addition, the air passage and the liquid passage are bendy, as a result of which the speed of the liquid and air stream decreases, which consequently also leads to a reduction in the quality of the foam.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a foam-forming assembly for forming a foam which solves one or more of the abovementioned drawbacks.

According to a first aspect of the invention, a foam-forming assembly comprising a housing having an air passage and a liquid passage, each of which ending in a mouth and being in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening, and a valve body which, in a rest position, covers the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in a sealing manner in order to prevent a flow from the liquid passage and the air passage to the dispensing passage, and which, during dispensing, opens the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in order to allow mixing of air and liquid to take place in the dispensing passage is provided, which is characterized by that the mouth of the liquid passage is annular and that the mouth of the air passage and an entry port of the dispensing passage are substantially provided on a circumference of an imaginary circle, whereby between the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage and the entry port of the dispensing passage an annular sealing surface is provided against which, in rest position, the valve body sealingly engages, wherein, during dispensing, the valve body becomes detached from the sealing surface such that the mouth of the air passage, the mouth of the liquid passage and the entry port of the dispensing passage substantially simultaneously come in fluid communication which each other.

By arranging in this way the mouths of the air passage and the liquid passage and the entry port of the dispensing passage, it is possible, upon actuation of the valve, to substantially simultaneously open the mouths of the air passage, the liquid passage and the entry port. By simultaneously opening the two mouths of both the air passage and the liquid passage is prevented that in a half-open position of the valve, for instance when the compressible container of a squeeze foamer is too softly squeezed, only air or only liquid is dispensed. Moreover, a better mixing and foam forming is obtained by simultaneously opening.

By providing multiple mouths for the air passage and/or entry ports for the dispensing passage, the foam forming may further be improved.

Preferably, the annular mouth of the liquid passage, the one or more mouths of the air passage and the one or more entry ports of the dispensing passage, directly border on the annular sealing surface.

Preferably, the annular sealing surface is small. For instance, the diameter of the annular sealing surface is 4-10 mm, and the width is maximally 1 mm, preferably smaller than 0.5 mm.

In one embodiment, the valve body is substantially conical. The term conical is understood to mean that the valve body is of substantially circular-symmetrical design and that, in the direction of the center axis of symmetry, the diameter is greater at one end of the valve body than at the other end of the valve body. The diameter may become increasingly smaller over the entire length, but may also increase or remain constant over part of the length of the conical shape.

In one embodiment, the valve body is at least partly made from a flexible, preferably elastic, material, for example silicone, such as for instance Liquid Silicone Rubber (SLR). By manufacturing the valve body from a flexible material, there is no need to install any further moving components in the foam-forming assembly in order to provide the valve function of the valve body. By using an elastic material, the valve body will return to its rest position after a foam has been dispensed. However, this return movement may also be effected in any other suitable way, for example by using a spring element or by pretensioning the valve body.

In one embodiment, the housing is substantially circular-symmetrical about a center axis and/or the liquid to be dispensed, during dispensing, moves in a direction relative to the longitudinal direction of the housing. In such an embodiment, the liquid does not have to follow complicated flow paths in which the main direction of the liquid is reversed two times or more. This also allows a relatively simple construction of the dispensing device.

In one embodiment, the elastic valve body comprises an arcuate section, which arcuate section extends in the mouth of the liquid passage or the mouth of the air passage in such a way that, initially, when increasing pressure the arcuate section improves the sealing of the mouth of the liquid passage or air passage, respectively. When, for instance, the pressure in the compressible container is increased by squeezing it, the arcuate section will have the tendency to deform, whereby the top of the arcuate section will be depressed. As a result, the parts of the arc close to the edges of the respective mouth will be pressed more firmly against these edges resulting in a better sealing. Further increasing the pressure the arc will further be deformed such that this arc becomes detached from the edges, as a result of which a flow through the respective mouth becomes possible.

Such an embodiment is in particular advantageous for the liquid passage of an upside down arranged container, since in the rest position of the dispensing device, a certain pressure is exerted on the valve body by the liquid column which is above the valve body. Due to the arcuate section of the valve body, this pressure may be used for improving the sealing of in particular the mouth of the liquid passage in the rest position of the foam-forming assembly, so that the dispensing opening can be pointing downwards without that leakage occurs.

According to a second aspect, the invention provides a dispensing device comprising a housing having an air passage and a liquid passage, each of which ending in a mouth and being in communication with a dispensing passage which ends in a dispensing opening, and a valve body which, in a rest position, covers the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in a sealing manner in order to prevent a flow from the liquid passage and the air passage to the dispensing passage, and which, during dispensing, opens the mouth of the liquid passage and the mouth of the air passage in order to allow mixing of air and liquid to take place in the dispensing passage is provided, which is characterized in that a constriction is arranged in said dispensing passage, preferably upstream of a porous element or sieve element arranged in the dispensing passage.

By arranging a constriction in the dispensing passage it is possible to accelerate in the dispensing passage the foam flow or liquid-air mixture flow. As a result, the mixing and thus the foam-forming is improved. Preferably, the constriction is arranged upstream with respect to a porous element or sieve element arranged in the dispensing passage, so that after the acceleration, the foam or the liquid-air mixture, is put through the porous element or sieve element to improve the forming of the foam. It has been found that the provision of a constriction results in a considerable improvement of the quality of the foam. The cross section surface area of the constriction is preferably less than 75% of the cross section surface area of the dispensing passage, more preferably less than 50%.

The foam-forming assembly according to the invention may advantageously be applied in a squeeze roamer comprising a manually compressible container for storing a liquid and air, the foam-forming assembly mountable on or in an opening of said container.

In alternative embodiments of dispensing devices for dispensing a foam, the foam-forming assembly according to the invention may be arranged in or on a container holding a liquid and gas under pressure, for instance on a container with a foamable liquid and a propellant. Also, the foam-forming assembly may be combined with any other device which can provide a foamable liquid and gas under pressure, for instance a device having a liquid pump and an air pump or a device having a liquid supply and air supply which are continuously under pressure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be explained in more detail below by means of an exemplary embodiment in which reference will be made to the attached drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a cross section of a first embodiment of a dispensing device according to the invention;

FIG. 2a shows a cross section of the embodiment of FIG. 1 during dispensing of a foam;

FIG. 2b shows the left-hand side half of FIG. 2a;

FIG. 2c shows the right-hand side half of FIG. 2a;

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the first housing part of the embodiment from FIGS. 1 and 2a, 2b and 2c;

FIG. 4 shows a top view of the second housing part of the embodiment from FIGS. 1 and 2a, 2b and 2c; and

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the second housing part of the embodiment from FIGS. 1 and 2a, 2b and 2c.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of a dispensing device according to the invention. The dispensing device is denoted overall by reference numeral 1. The dispensing device 1 is of the squeeze roamer type. Such a squeeze roamer dispenses a foam through a dispensing opening as a result of a container being squeezed. After it has been squeezed, the container will return to the original state, either by the elasticity of the container itself or by restoring means which are provided in order to return the container to its original state.

The foam which can be formed using the dispensing device 1 may be suitable for various different uses, such as, for example, as soap, shampoo, shaving foam, washing-up liquid, sun-tan lotion, after-sun lotion, washing liquid, skincare products and the like.

The dispensing device is shown in the rest position, that is to say that the container is not being squeezed. Such a squeeze foamer can be operated by hand. However, it is also possible to push the container in using a device intended for the purpose.

The illustrated squeeze roamer can be held in a hand during delivery. It is also possible to install it or a similar dispensing device into a holder which is to be attached, for example, to the wall, similar to holder which can, for example, be found in public toilets.

The dispensing device 1 comprises a manually compressible container 2 containing a liquid and air. The container has an opening 3 on which a foam-forming assembly is fitted. The container 2 may have any suitable shape, for example a shape having an elliptical or a circular cross section.

The foam-forming assembly is substantially circular-symmetrical around a center axis of symmetry A-A. The foam-forming assembly comprises a housing with a first housing part 20, a second housing part 4 and third housing part 5. The third housing part 5 is attached to the container 2 by means of a threaded connection, the first housing part 20 and the second housing part 4 being clamped in a sealing manner between the container 2 and the third housing part 5. Alternatively, the third housing part 5 may be attached by means of a snap connection, a welded connection, an airtight seal or another suitable connection on or in the container 2. Furthermore, the foam-forming assembly comprises a substantially conical valve body 6 which is clamped near clamping section 6a between the second housing part 4 and the third housing part 5. The valve body 6 is made from a flexible, preferably elastic material. Silicone, such as for example liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), has proved to be a particularly suitable material for the valve body 6.

In the shown position of the dispensing device, the air is, relative to the liquid, situated at the top of the container 2. This liquid and this air can be turned into a foam by means of the dispensing device 1, which is dispensed through a dispensing opening 8 in the sealing cap 7. In order to make mixing of the liquid and the air possible, a liquid passage is provided which runs from the liquid in the container via a number of openings 9a and/or 9b in the first housing part 20 to an annular mouth 10 in the second housing part 4 (between the circular edges 4a and 4b) of the liquid passage.

For the air, an air passage is provided which runs from the air at the top of the container 2 via the tube 11 to three mouths 12 (of which one is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) of the air passage. In the rest position shown, both the annular mouth 10 and the mouths 12 are sealed by the valve body 6. In the rest position none of the mouths 10, 12 are in fluid communication with one of the three entry ports 30 of the dispensing passage (of which only one is shown in the Figures).

The mouths 12 of the air passage and the entry ports 30 of the dispensing passage are substantially arranged on the circumference of an imaginary circle (see also FIG. 5), and border on the sealing edge 4a of the second housing part 4 which sealing edge 4a forms an annular sealing surface for the valve body 6. At the upper side of the sealing edge 4a the annular mouth 10 of the liquid passage is located. Each of the mouths 12 of the air passage is at least partially surrounded by a sealing surface 4c. In the shown embodiment each mouth 12 is surrounded by the sealing surface 4c and a part of the annular sealing surface 4a. The above configuration of the mouths 10, 12, entry ports 30 and sealing surfaces 4a, 4c is more clearly shown in FIG. 5, in which a perspective view of the second housing part of 4 is shown.

Upon actuation of the dispensing device, i.e. compressing the container 2, the mouths 10, 12 will at a certain moment be opened because the valve body will detach from the sealing surface 4a, as shown in FIGS. 2a, 2b and 2c. As a result, the liquid passage and the air passage come almost simultaneously in communication with a dispensing passage via the entry ports 30. As a consequence, the liquid and air will mix and form a foam in the dispensing passage.

The dispensing passage runs through the central part of the valve body 6, in which a sieve element 13 with two small sieves 13a is arranged, to the dispensing opening 8 the sealing cap 7.

Generally, the air passage contains one or more air ducts which bring the air in the container in fluid communication with the mouths of the air passage which, in the rest position, is covered by the valve body. The liquid passage correspondingly contains one or more liquid ducts which bring the liquid in the container in fluid communication with the mouth of the liquid passage which, in the rest position, is covered by the valve body.

Now, the valve body 6 will be discussed in more detail. At the point 6a, the valve body 6 is sealingly clamped between the second housing part 4 and the third housing part 5. Furthermore, the valve body is retained by the annular edge 4a, edge 4c at each of the mouths of the air passage and the sieve element 13. In order, in the rest position, to achieve a better sealing along the circular edges 4a and 4c, the valve body 6 is fitted with some axial pretension between the second housing part 4 and the third housing part 5.

The valve body 6 has an arcuate section 6c which, in the rest position, is located, at least partly, in the mouth of the liquid passage. This arcuate section 6c has the advantage that, as a result of the liquid column in the container and the liquid passage which, in the rest position, presses on the valve body, an improved sealing is obtained at point 4a. This is due to the fact that the arcuate section 6c is pushed in, as a result of which the sides of the arch are pushed sideways. As a result, the outside of the arcuate section 6c is pushed towards the clamp 6a, and the inside of the arcuate section 6c is pushed against the circular edge 4a as well as against the circular edge 4c, which increases the sealing action.

In this case, it is particularly advantageous that the cross section of the arcuate section 6c which extends inside the liquid passage is not of a symmetrical design, but that a top of the arcuate section 6c is situated relatively close to the edge 4a, i.e. that the top of the arcuate section 6c is closer to the edge 4a than to the edge 4b. As a result of this shape, the arcuate section 6c will, under the pressure of the liquid column, in particular press against the edge 4a, resulting in a good sealing here. As the liquid passage is sealed on the other side by the clamp at section 6a, the mouth is efficiently sealed off by the valve body 6 without a great clamping force being required.

In an alternative embodiment in which the valve body 6 is not sealingly mounted to one of the sides of the mouth, a top can be provided near both edges of the liquid passage in order to achieve the advantageous very strong clamping effect of the arcuate section of the valve body on both edges. The cross section of the arcuate section of the valve body then resembles the back of a camel, the two tops of the valve body representing the humps of the camel.

On the side situated on the outside of the clamping section 6a, the valve body 6 has a sealing lip 6b which serves as a valve for an air inlet valve which allows air into the container 2 when a certain reduced pressure is created in the container 2 as a result of the liquid in the container 2 being dispensed. The sealing lip 6b normally seals the passage of the container 2 towards the outside, but will allow a flow of air from outside into the container 2 through the opening 15 when there is a reduced pressure in the container 2.

The dispensing device 1 furthermore comprises a sealing cap 7. Relative to the third housing part 5, this sealing cap 7 can be moved at least into an open position, as shown in FIG. 1, and a closed position (towards the top in the drawing, relative to the housing). In the closed position, a projecting section 5b of the third housing part 5 is moved into the dispensing opening 8 so that no foam can be dispensed through the dispensing opening 8. The air inlet passage which, via the valve body 6b and the opening 15, leads to the interior of the container 2, is sealed when the sealing cap is placed in the closed position. The sealing cap 7 still has a number of upwardly pointing fingers which engage with complementary fingers on the third housing part 5. These intermating fingers form further sealings in the closed position.

Near its outer periphery, the first housing part 20 has a free projecting lip 29 (see FIG. 2c) which extends obliquely in the direction of the container 2 and inwards (towards the centre line A-A). This lip 29 serves as a sealing element for sealing the connection between the first housing part 20 and the container 2. Such a sealing is also known as a crab claw, but has not yet been used in a foam-dispensing device, in particular not in a squeeze roamer.

Further, in the dispensing passage a constriction element 31 is provided which constricts the cross section surface area of the dispensing opening at the constriction 32. The constriction 32 causes an acceleration of the foam flow or liquid-air mixture flow in the dispensing passage therewith improving the quality of the foam. The constriction element 31 is designed integrally with the sieve element 13. In another embodiment the constriction element can be provided by a separate element or an element integrated in another part of the foam-forming assembly.

The cross section surface area of the constriction element is preferably maximally 75%, more preferably maximally 50%, of the cross section surface area of the dispensing passage upstream of the constriction 32.

The constriction is arranged upstream of at least one of the sieves 13a, or generally before the last porous element or sieve element 13. By arranging the constriction 32 upstream of at least one of the sieves, the forming of foam is positively influenced.

When the container 2 is squeezed, the pressure in the container 2 will increase. Initially, the increasing pressure will ensure that the arcuate section 6c of the valve body 6 is pressed more strongly against the annular edge 4a, resulting in an improved sealing between the valve body 6 and the annular edge 4a. When the pressure in the container 2 is increased further by squeezing the latter, the arcuate section 6c will at some point move down, as a result of which it will detach from the annular edge 4a, as shown in FIGS. 2a, 2b and 2c.

At the moment the valve body 6 becomes detached from the annular sealing edge 4a, both the annular mouth 10 of the liquid passage and the mouths 12 of the air passage will substantially simultaneously come in communication with each other and the entry ports 30 of the dispensing passage. As a consequence, a mixture of air and liquid will come into existence, which as a result of the pressure which is caused by compressing the container, will flow into the dispensing passage via the entry ports 30.

This mixture of air and liquid will then flow through the constriction 32 and small sieves 13a, which will produce an (improved) foam. This foam will flow down through the dispensing passage towards the dispensing opening 8, where it will be dispensed.

The valve body 6 thus as it were successively rolls over the annular edge 4a during dispensing as a result of which the liquid and air can flow via the dispensing passage to the dispensing opening, creating a foam in the dispensing passage.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the first housing part 20. This first housing part 20 is substantially circular and comprises a central opening 23 surrounded by six openings, three openings 9a having a larger diameter than the other three openings 9b. While foam is being dispensed and also during aeration of the container 2, air will flow through the central opening 23. Depending on the desired air/liquid ratio, one or more of the openings 9a and 9b are provided in order to allow liquid to flow through them while the squeeze roamer is being operated.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of the second housing part 4. This second housing part 4 comprises three openings 24 which can be brought in line with either the large openings 9a or the small openings 9b of the first housing part 20, depending on the position of rotation in which the second housing part 4 is placed on the first housing part 20. The second housing part 4 furthermore comprises three blind holes 25 which, depending on the position of the first housing part 20 relative to the second housing part 20, will either seal the large openings 9a or the small openings 9b.

If the first housing part 20 and the second housing part 4 were now to be rotated 60 degrees with respect to one another, the openings 24 would be lined up with the small openings 9b, while the large openings 9a would be sealed by the blind holes 25. This would result in less liquid flowing from the openings 9b during operation of the squeeze roamer, whereas the amount of air which flows through the riser 11 as a result of the container 2 being squeezed would remain virtually the same. Thus, the air/liquid ratio will change depending on the position of rotation of the first housing part 20 relative to the second housing part 4.

It will be clear to the person skilled in the art that this construction offers many possibilities for changing the air/liquid ratio by varying the number of openings in the first housing part which are optionally sealed by a blind hole as well as by varying the size of the respective openings. It is for instance also possible to also open the blind holes 25 so that six through-going come into existence in the second housing part 4.

A further possibility to influence the air/liquid ratio is through the adjustment of the smallest diameter of the air passage, for example by adjusting the inner diameter of the riser 11 or by adjusting the diameter of the central opening 23 in the first housing part 20. The options which have been given for adjusting the air/liquid ratio can also be used to affect the total amount of foam which is formed when the container 2 is squeezed.

In the present embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, only two positions are possible: one as shown in FIG. 3, where the liquid is dispensed through the three large openings 9a, and a position in which the first housing part 20 is rotated by 60 degrees relative to the third housing part 5 and in which the liquid is thus dispensed through the three small openings 9b. When fitting the various components of the squeeze roamer 1 onto the container 2, a choice will be made regarding the position in which the first housing part 20 would be fitted with respect to the third housing part 5, for example depending on the liquid.

The liquid which flows through the opening 9a to the annular mouth 10 is thus not able to reach a space 21 which is situated between the first housing part 4 and the third housing part 20. This space 21 connects the space 22 just above the air inlet valve 6b to the interior of the riser 11. As a result, the air which enters through the air inlet valve 6b during aeration of the container 2 following the dispensing of a certain amount of liquid, will successively flow through the spaces 22 and 21 and through the riser 11 into the top section of the container 2. Compared to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the air is prevented from passing through the liquid in the container 2 prior to the aeration of the container 2. The latter has the disadvantage that a foam may already be formed in the container 2 as the air required for aerating the bottle flows through the liquid.

By forming a space 21 using a third housing part 20, the production of foam in the container 2 during aeration is thus prevented in a constructionally simple manner. In an alternative embodiment, it is possible, for example in the embodiment from FIGS. 1 and 2, to provide an air duct through the first housing part 4 or the second housing part 5, which air duct connects the air inlet valve with the interior of the riser, so that the container can be aerated without air having to flow through the liquid in the container.

A further advantage of the embodiment of the dispensing device 1 is that the annular mouth of the liquid passage and the distribution of the mouths of the air passage over the circumference of a circle, distribute the liquid and the air over a relatively large surface area, resulting in a relatively good mixing. This advantage is also achieved when one or both of the annular mouths extend over less than 360 degrees or are subdivided into several openings which together form an interrupted annular opening. Such embodiments are considered to fall within the scope of protection of the invention.

In an alternative embodiment, it is possible to design the valve body to be stiff and to press or pull it against the second housing part 4 using a spring element. When the pressure in the container is increased, the spring will then be compressed or extended, respectively, creating a gap between the valve body 6 and the third housing part 4. As a result, it will be possible to form and to dispense a foam. However, in such an embodiment the advantageous rolling effect described above will not occur.

Another advantage of the embodiment of the dispensing device 1 is that as a result of the central opening 14 which is provided in the valve body, the stream of liquid and/or the stream of air does not have to turn corners of 90 degrees or more. By providing this opening 14, the stream of liquid and the stream of air can maintain their speed, thus resulting in a better mixture of the liquid and the air. In this case, it is furthermore advantageous that the valve body 6 is designed to be substantially conical as a result of which the speed of the stream of liquid and the stream of air is maintained even more effectively. In addition, the conical shape has the advantage that a sieve element assisting the production of foam can be fitted in the cone. By fitting it in the conical shape, the total height of the housing is reduced, Generally, the illustrated embodiment of the dispensing device has the advantage that the liquid to be dispensed moves in a direction relative to the direction of the center axis of symmetry while it is being dispensed. This is made possible by the specific construction of the dispensing device and aids the production of a foam of the desired quality.

Another advantage of the embodiment of the dispensing device 1 is that the arcuate section 6c of the valve body 6 supports the sealing between the second housing part 4 and the valve body 6. As a result, a better sealing is achieved in the rest position, i.e. when the container 2 is not being squeezed, thus reducing the risk of liquid leaking from the dispensing device. In addition, the arcuate section 6c creates a pressure threshold value, at which the valve body becomes detached from the second housing part 4, ensuring an improved foam of constant quality.

The above-described embodiments of a squeeze roamer have been described in a position where the cap points downwards. All references to above and/or below are made relative to this position. The dispensing device is designed to be used in this position. In this case, the sealing cap 7 is designed such that the dispensing device can stand on this sealing cap 7, whereas the container 2, due to its convex top, is not suitable to stand on this top. However, it is possible to provide an embodiment in which the dispensing device can indeed be turned upside down (inverted with respect to the position shown) in order to dispense foam and/or rest. Such embodiments are deemed to fall within the scope of protection of this invention.

It will be clear to the person skilled in the art that all individual features which have been mentioned with respect to one of the aspects can also be applied in an embodiment according to one of the other aspects of the invention. Such embodiments are thus deemed to fall within the scope of protection of the invention.